2 men arrested in marijuana crackdown
Pasco deputies continued their crackdown on marijuana cultivation with the arrest Wednesday of two men in separate incidents. William Dennis Cheatley Jr., 34, of 4229 Athens Ave. in New Port Richey, had 14 marijuana plants, loose marijuana, grow equipment that included lights and transformers, pipes and scales, deputies said. Cheatley's charges landed him in the county jail in lieu of $10,150 bail. Yamir Canizares, 31, of 23152 Del Harbor Court in Land O'Lakes, had 34 plants in his house, deputies said. He also illegally tapped into a power supply for the grow lights and air-conditioning system needed for the cultivation, deputies said. He was being held in lieu of $5,000 bail.
Plane crash victims improving
Two men injured in a plane crash on Sunday at a small private airport in central Pasco are doing better at a Tampa hospital, according to a family friend. Pilot Arthur J. Michaud, 49, of 10524 Merlin Drive in New Port Richey, suffered a broken right thigh bone and facial cuts. Student pilot and passenger Anthony Parisi, 46, of 3055 Sugar Bear Trail in Palm Harbor, also has facial cuts and a broken lower left leg, according to Harold Hedrick, who works at Michaud's Lakeland-based company, Prop Works Inc. Hedrick said both men are at St. Joseph's Hospital and will probably be there for another week. The single-engine Piper crashed at 2:10 p.m. in a field at the end of the runway near Pilot Country Airport on State Road 52. The cause of the accident is under investigation.
NEW PORT RICHEY
Schools race gets its first candidate
The race for Pasco County School Board District 3 has drawn its first announced candidate. And it's not the incumbent. Sallie Skipper, a local lawyer who recently served as superintendent Heather Fiorentino's campaign treasurer, has filed papers signaling her intention to challenge three-term veteran Cathi Martin for the seat representing southwest Pasco. Martin, who said she would resign earlier this year and then changed her mind, has yet to announce her intentions. Skipper said in a news release that her experience, including serving as a trustee for Genesis Preparatory School and as a member of the Pasco-Hernando Community College Foundation board of directors, "has given me a unique perspective on the difficult issues facing our school system today. My desire is to help bring a direction to our education system that will serve Pasco County today and in the future."